The Kansas Senate is expected to vote today on an industrial hemp legalization measure that would create a pilot program allowing government agencies, institutes of higher education, and licensed individuals to cultivate the crop for research and development purposes, according to a Hutchinson News report. A less restrictive industrial hemp proposal passed the House 103-18 last year but did not have enough support in the Senate to come to the floor for a vote.

If the measure is approved by the Senate it will move to the House Agriculture Committee whose chairman, Rep. Kyle Hoffman, called the revised legislation “cleaner and more concise” than its predecessor.

What’s included in the legislation:

  • The state Department of Agriculture, either alone or with an institute of higher education, could cultivate industrial hemp for R&D purposes. The Agriculture Department’s R&D site would be located in Russell County.
  • Individuals, corporations, and associations could receive licenses to grow industrial hemp. The licenses would need to be renewed annually.
  • Licensees would undergo state and federal criminal background checks, including fingerprints. Convicted felons would not be eligible to receive a license.
  • The Agriculture Department would need to develop rules to govern the program by the end of the year. By January 2019, the agency would need to outline a process to allow out-of-state sales
  • A THC limit of 0.3 percent, in line with federal regulations.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some 34 states allow some form of hemp production, usually a pilot program requiring a license from a state agency to grow the crop. The only state that does not use the 0.3 percent THC threshold for hemp is West Virginia, which defines hemp as containing less than 1 percent THC.

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